Wolfpack Hand Illini Third-Straight Loss
Dec. 1, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois fell behind early and could never recover, as North Carolina State pulled away for a 73-57 win Wednesday night at Assembly Hall in the fourth annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Sophomore Karisma Penn led the travel-weary Illini with 12 points and 12 rebounds, her fourth double-double of the season, but that wasn't enough overcome a season-high 26 turnovers.
N.C. State jumped out to an early 9-2 lead, but the Illini cut deficit to 11-8 and were still hanging around midway through the half, trailing 17-12 with 11:17 left. That was when the Wolfpack broke the game open, rattling off 17 straight points while holding the Orange and Blue scoreless for a span of 6:40 to open up a 34-12 lead. They carried a 42-24 lead into halftime, forcing 19 Illini turnovers in the first 20 minutes. Illinois' previous high for a game this season was 17 turnovers.
In last season's ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the Fighting Illini overcame a 17-point second-half deficit to beat Wake Forest by 15, however, tonight the Wolfpack scored the first nine points of the second half to push the lead to 51-24 and to squash any hopes of a repeat performance this year. NC State pushed the lead as high as 32 points at one point in the second half, before cruising to the 17-point win. The loss is the third-straight for Illinois, who drops to 3-5 on the season.
Penn had four blocks and two steals to go along with her double-double. Freshman Centrese McGee joined Penn in double-figures, finishing with 10 points and six rebounds, while sophomore Adrienne GodBold added nine points, three assists and three steals. Junior Lana Rukavina tied her career-high with eight points and freshman Alexis Burke also chipped in eight points and four rebounds.
The Fighting Illini shot 37.5 percent from the field and were just 1-of-11 (.091) from three-point range and 8-of-18 (.444) from the free throw line. N.C. State (4-4) shot 42 percent for the game and outrebounded the Illini 46-38. Bonae Holston led four Wolfpack players in double-figures with 18 points.
Illinois falls to 1-3 all time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and 0-2 against N.C. State. The lone previous meeting came in the 2007 ACC/Big Ten Challenge, with the Wolfpack winning 61-47 in Raleigh.
This year's ACC/Big Ten Challenge is even at 2-2 after day one with Michigan and Michigan State picking up wins for the Big Ten and Georgia Tech and NC State victorious on the ACC side. Seven games remain on Thursday.
Illinois hits the road again this weekend for another intra-conference challenge. On Saturday, the Illini will travel to Boulder, Colo., to face the University of Colorado in the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge. The Illini and Buffaloes will tip at 5 p.m. MT/6 CT in the first annual event.